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RTÉ launches revamped Player after complaints about 'terrible service'

Most problems were related to streaming and buffering.

A still from Fair City on the RTÉ Player
A still from Fair City on the RTÉ Player

RTÉ HAS LAUNCHED a new Player service after receiving numerous complaints from viewers about streaming problems. 

The state broadcaster received dozens of emails from members of the public containing feedback about its online Player service between October 2017 and October 2018. 

A selection of the complaints sent to RTÉ was released to TheJournal.ie following a Freedom of Information request.

The RTÉ Information Office received eight emails about the Player from October to December 2017 and 39 emails from 1 January to 25 October 2018.

A number of people were unhappy with the quality of the Player’s streaming function. Comments from viewers received by RTÉ included the following: 

  • “Player can crash on multiple occasions … slow and pixellated [sic] … poor quality software”
  • “Program [sic] froze during advertisements”
  • “Absolutely terrible service”
  • “Numerous freezes of the feed … unwatchable”
  • “RTE Player is crap … invest in technology delivery”

A spokesperson for RTÉ said the broadcaster “always listens to audience feedback”, adding that the new service, which was launched two weeks ago, has “enhanced content and improved functionality”. 

“It is now available on web and mobile apps, and a full suite of Smart TV apps are in development for delivery soon. We will continue to improve the service on an ongoing basis.

“As a dual-funded media organisation, RTÉ is statutorily obliged to supplement licence fee income with commercial revenue to deliver on its range of public services,” they stated. 

The majority of the feedback received by RTÉ during the period in question related to technical issues and problems with streaming and buffering.

In terms of other complaints, one individual said they were “sick to the very core of having to watch adverts”, writing: “I have actually stopped watching RTE Player recently because of it.”

Another person complained that the Player’s Fair City Extras preview content was showing the previous episode rather than the next one due to air. 

One viewer urged RTÉ to reconsider its 30-day policy (how long a programme remains on the Player) and it was explained to them that this limit is set due to rights restrictions and licensing agreements on certain programmes. 

With reporting by Killian Woods 

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